Hollywood, CA— The 2017 Q Award was presented to this yearʼs recipient NBCUniversal for its new Universal Studios Hollywood attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. The Alliance for Quality Construction (AQC) event was held on June 15, 2017 at the Globe Theatre within Universal City Studios. Construction industry luminaries, government officials, and Universal Studios top brass attended the sold out event. Accepting the award were Karen Irwin, President and COO of Universal Studios Hollywood, and Ed Chuchla, Chief Real Estate Officer of NBCUniversal.
The opening video revealed the many iconic projects deserving of the prestigious Q Award including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Universal Studios Hollywood. Emcee Barry Garfield opened the proceedings by asking the many labor and subcontractor representatives to stand, introduce themselves and briefly describe their involvement with the building of the project. Construction industry representatives who individually spoke were proud of their contributions to the final outcome.
AQC Chair, Pam Ackrich said, “In the 15 years we have held this event, this is undoubtedly the most unique project to which we have ever bestowed the Q Award. Unique in that it is not just one building but an entire village that transports you to another world—a world of fantasy and magic—a Wizarding world.”
Guests who addressed the crowd included Stephanie Cohen-District Director for L.A. County Supervisor Kuehl, Ron Miller-Executive Secretary, Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council, David Ryu-Los Angeles City Councilman District 4, Chris Ritter- Operations Manager, PCL Construction Services, and recipients Ed Chuchla-Chief Real Estate Officer, NBCUniversal, and Karen Irwin-President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood.
Ron Miller was delighted with the final outcome of this project, and that the LA/OC Building & Construction Trades Council is continuing to work with NBCUniversal to secure future projects for Southern California union contractors and crafts persons. “Giving an award is a way of saying, 'let's stop, take some time, appreciate something new, exciting and different that now exists because a group of committed people put their heads together and decided to do something,” said Miller. With the extraordinary Wizarding World of Harry Potter project completed, Miller said, “You dream it, we will build it.”
The construction began in 2013 and was completed in 2016. The project created many union construction jobs with a total of 749,036 trade hours. The finished project appears to be a small European town right down to the cobblestone streets, candy shops and of course the castle on the hill which also houses a roller coaster. The attraction has already become a popular Southern California tourist destination.
Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu enthusiastically referred to those in the audience who built this project. “It is always a pleasure being in the most magical place in the city of Los Angeles – and that's Universal Studios. But I really want to thank and recognize all the partners, and especially the union members who helped make today possible. Today I have the honor of recognizing a company that continues to inspire countless fans and wizards of all ages,” said Councilman Ryu.
The general contractor on the project was PCL Construction Services, Inc. PCLʼs operation manager on the job was Chris Ritter who addressed the crowd. “The amazing part to me is the amount of work that got done and the complexity of it. It took less than two years to actually complete the project from the time we broke ground, which is a tremendous feat.” Ritter went on to say that there were 450 construction jobs created by this project, but that there were 3,700 people who went through their orientation.
In his speech, NBCUniversalʼs Chief Real Estate Officer, Ed Chuchla, beamed with pride to have led this project for NBCUniversal. He also mentioned the various ongoing construction projects and future developments planned to be built with union labor at Universal Studios Hollywood. "Let's be really clear, this is an award that's all about flipping the spotlight right back on you, because every tradesman, craftsman and woman sitting in this audience made it happen, right? And for that, we're incredibly grateful,” said Chuchla.
Emcee Barry Garfield announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, hang onto your seats as we view the making of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in sixty seconds.” With that, the time-lapse video began on the giant screens. The overview shot of the project area began with bare ground and through completion of the town streets, castle, and roller coaster.
Karen Irwin, President and COO of Universal Studios Hollywood enthusiastically spoke to the audience. She touted the artistry, creativity in design, construction and workmanship necessary to build Universalʼs attractions. She thanked the Alliance for Quality Construction for bestowing such an award
upon them, and announced other major attractions under way. “We look forward to working with your teams for many years to come. Thank you for your commitment and support. We couldnʼt do it without you!” said Irwin.
Pam Ackrich, the Alliance for Quality Constructionʼs Chair, presented the 2017 Award to Karen Irwin and Ed Chuchla. “The award reads Alliance for Quality Construction 2017 Q Award honoring NBCUniversal for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. For their outstanding contribution toward the attainment of quality construction within the building industry of Southern California,” said Ackrich. “Not only would I like to congratulate Universal Studios and NBCUniversal, but the architects, engineers, subcontractors and especially PCL Construction on a magnificent job in creating The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.”